By Pastor Bobby Schuller
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:1,13
Paul wrote one of the greatest texts in western literature, 1 Corinthians 13, about what it means to love one another. Written for all, it was first read by the Christians in Corinth, a fabulously wealthy city where anybody – former slaves or freeborn persons, people who had nothing – could go there, start businesses as merchants, and become extremely wealthy. It was a place of commerce, business, and trade. Corinth was the place that you could go to and make all your dreams come true. Because of that, Corinth was quite a competitive place – in business, sports, etc.
Paul saw that this competitive spirit was working its way into the church of Corinth when he spots two types of people:
1. The super apostle. These were people who said, “Don’t listen to Paul. Listen to me. I am so spiritual that I can do miracles, speak in unknown tongues, and do other amazing things. Don’t listen to those silly guys from Jerusalem. I am much more spiritual than they are.”
2. The legalist. These were people who said, “If you want to be a Christian, you have to follow the rules about the clothes you wear, the food you eat, and guys, you have to get circumcised. If you really want to live in the kingdom of God, you have to follow these rigid rules.”
First Corinthians 13 is primarily written to those types of people. Paul says it’s not about being super spiritual and it’s not about soul-killing legalism and religiosity. It’s simply about loving one another. That is the call to moral good.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to discover and overcome any legalistic or super religious ways, especially those that get in the way of showing your grace through love to others. Amen.
Devotion: Are you a super apostle? A legalist? Now that you’ve read the descriptions of both, how will you revise your behavior so you can be more loving towards others?